Good Morning and welcome to Christina’s presentation on solo camping from Saturday, February 24th, 2018 at the Outdoor Adventure Show!
Today I am posting my speech as a blog post for those of you who have asked and are interested. I will be uploading the entire video to be seen on my youtube channel shortly.
I presented on solo camping and the processes I went through to become a solo camper.
I have been backcountry camping since 2002 and solo camping for almost 2.5 years now.
Once the video was done playing, I asked the audience who here has gone solo day tripping, camping for one night or had done multi day trips. Many hands were raised. I then advised the reasons below of why I started going solo.
I began going solo for a lot of reasons but it wasn’t easy to get started.
All these reasons are what caused me to go solo and eventually I did a lot of solo trips and that led me to this:
I asked the audience for those that had not raised their hands earlier, why they had not gone solo camping, then advised of my own reasons afterwards.
I had a lot of fears to overcome before I would be ready to got out there by myself. I took them on one by one !
What was holding me back?
- Fear of getting hurt
- Fear of getting eaten by a bear
- Fear of getting lost
- Fear of not having the right skills or knowledge
That is a lot of fears!
What did I do about it? I attacked them one by one.
1 – Fear of hurting myself
- I took a course at Frontenac Park called Wilderness First Aid
- I learned what to do
- and how to respond to others and myself
- the most important lesson I learned was not to perform first aid, but how to avoid needing it in the first place!
- I also bring a lot of devices that allow me to get help and assistance if need be
- Ask park staff if you have cell service, keep phone charged and charger on hand so you always have power
- Bring signaling devices – whistle, mirror etc
- Use a Beacon or other satellite device that works without cell service,
- with a Beacon I file a trip report with them giving details of my locations every night/day, tent color, water vessel color, etc, etc, and have at hand in case of emergency, with this information, they know how to find me if I press that emergency button
- Fear of getting eaten by a BEAR
- learn what to do when you see a bear
- bears like scents
- bears like food
- a bear vault BV500 is odor free and hard to get in to for a bear
- bear barrel must be hung as it is not bear proof
- ursack, fiberglass bag… hang not bear proof, doesn’t fully close
- bears like anything with a scent. The weekend before my first solo trip I came face to face with a bear
- it was eating my citronella candle. It ate the entire thing 🙁
- Fear of Getting Lost:
- get found, learn how
- I had been hand railing most of my life
- I signed up for Map and Compass Courses at Frontenac and learned compass and map skills
- got a deck compass
- you can also find lots of info and help online, videos by experts like Kevin Callan, the Happy Camper
- Fear of not having the right skills or knowledge:
- get knowledge
- get training
- level 1 and 2 sea kayaking certification with Ontario Sea Kayak Centre –
- gives you knowledge and confidence, continued with basic instructor
- backcountry camping skills included in training such as first aid info, navigation skills, how to pack, etc
- now you will know what to do
After all of that, I was finally ready!
- knowledge from courses I took…. Map and Compass, Level 1 Level 2
- confidence from courses and practicing and training, OSKC Sea Kayaking Certifications Level 1 Level 2
- experience from years and years of tripping and camping
- I was still scared but it was manageable now
Went on my very 1st solo trip to Massasauga Provincial Park in Sept 2015
- got there with an air horn on my chest
- set up camp, put my tent in the back so it would be sheltered from the forecasted rain
- good day alone but the night came and I’m scared of the dark….
- I cracked open my glow sticks, I could have a rave I had so many
- I moved my tent at 11:30pm to the front of the site
- this did 2 things, made me feel safer being in the open and made me tired so I could finally sleep
- had a cell signal, called mommy and said I was scared
- made it out and survived! One down….
From there, it got easier:
- I did 7 solo trips in 2016 including my 2nd solo trip being a winter trip
- another 3 early on in 2017
- Then I was finally ready for some bigger trips
- Not afraid anymore
- Felt confident enough
- Felt strong enough
- Felt prepared enough
Next, I did 3 what I call BIG TRIPS for me in 2017….
My first a kayak camping trip on the French river by kayak, it was 4 days, 3 nights,
This followed by a canoe trip in Algonquin Park, 5 days, 4 nights with 14 portages using a canoe I was lent from Backcountry Custom Canoes.
Then I did another canoe trip in Killarney, which was to be 5 days, 4 nights, but due to bad winds forecast, turned into a 4 day, 3 night trip. My experience and the skills I learned had taught me to know that I had to leave a day early.
My favorite trip was my 5 day, 4 night trip in Algonquin as it was the most challenging.
I greatly enjoyed overcoming the challenges I was presented, especially solo and I had quite a few trying times during my solo adventure. I made a short video on some of the biggest challenges I’ve faced since solo camping.
As I said I love the challenges, they make a better story, they challenge you to use your skills and what you’ve learned over the years and I think make you a better outdoors person.
But every cloud has a silver lining and obviously the other part about trips like these are the amazing moments you get to experience…..
Those are some of the moments that make everything I do worth it and make me so happy that instead of sitting home alone on my couch, wishing I had someone to go camping and exploring and adventuring with. I am out doing it , ALL BY MY SELF!!!!!
In the end, it doesn’t matter how you get out, as long as you do and you are safe about it and comfortable and smart about what you are doing.
There are so many incredible resources out there, people you can learn from, places to get knowledge, skills and confidence
If going solo is something you really want to do, why not do it???????
I proceed to give away some pretty sweet prizes. Two shoe coupons for Keen Canada, 2 bottles of Purinize Water Purification drops, 2 unisex Camper Christina t’s that just say CAMPER on them with my logo, and a Lem Saw from Backcountry Custom Canoes. I also had a few Keynoes to hand out from Kingdom Outdoor Products. They were so cute1 I would like to take a moment to thank all the people who donated prizes. I’m sure that’s why I had a turn out like the photo below!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post about my presentation from The Outdoor Adventure Show on Saturday, February 24th, 2018. I will be posting 2 videos of the full presentation on my youtube channel shortly. HUGE THANK YOU to my friends Sam and Shylo for filming it for me. You can see Shylo there in the front row wearing the green plaid shirt holding my phone. You are the best Shylo! I am truly grateful!
Thanks for checking out my blog. If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, please leave a message.
Photo of the audience and photo of me speaking in the blog post: provided by Tony Fera of Let’s Discover On – Travel Blog THANK YOU!
Photo of me speaking used as the cover photo from far away with crowd in photo provided by Alex Traynor of Northern Scavengers. THANK YOU!